OSM proposes to revise rules for Transfer, Assignment, or Sale of
Permit Rights
 
 
Comment Deadline: March 26, 2005: Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, Administrative Record, Room 101, 1951 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20240, or you may send comments via electronic mail to osmregs@osmre.gov 
 
 
January 26,2005
 
Office of Surface Mining News Release
 
For immediate release Contact: Mike Gauldin

mgauldin@osmre.gov or 202-208-2565


Washington, D.C. - The US Office of Surface Mining is proposing to revise its rules for transfer, assignment, or sale of coal mining permit rights to provide for consistent enforcement by state regulatory agencies to provide for greater clarity in an area that has been a source of confusion for many years.

The proposed rule, published today (January 26) in the Federal Register, satisfies part of an agreement OSM entered into to settle a lawsuit by the National Mining Association, which sought to overturn certain aspects of OSM's 2000 final Ownership and Control rule.

In 1998, OSM proposed to amend certain provisions of its rules, including the provisions related to transfer, assignment, or sale of permit rights. However, OSM did not include transfer, assignment, or sale of permit rights in the 2000 final rule due to the number and disparate nature of the comments on the proposed revisions. OSM decided instead to devote further study to the current rules for transfer, assignment, or sale of permit rights and related issues.

Under section 511(b) of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA), no transfer, assignment, or sale of the rights granted under any permit issued under SMCRA will be made without the written approval of the regulatory authority. Under section 506(b), a successor in interest to a permittee who applies for a new permit within thirty days and is able to obtain the bond coverage of the original permittee may continue mining until a permitting decision is made.

The proposed rules would, among other things, revise the definitions of "transfer, assignment, or sale of permit rights" and "successor in interest" and revise the application and review requirements for these permitting actions, all of which require regulatory authority approval.

These and other changes are being proposed to clarify the reach of these definitions and, therefore, the types of changes requiring regulatory authority approval under these rules. Changes to information requirements are also being proposed that would coincide with those proposed clarifications.

"We have devoted further study to transfer, assignment, and sale issues and related topics, as we promised in 2000, and are now proposing to clarify our regulations," said Jeff Jarrett, Director of OSM.

"We view this rulemaking as an opportunity to consider distinguishing between the circumstances that will constitute a transfer, assignment, or sale of permit rights from those resulting in a successor in interest as well as from those that will only require a permittee to provide information updates. We also seek to introduce regulatory stability to an area that has been subject to varying interpretations for many years."

The public has 60 days to comment on the proposed rule changes. If you wish to comment, you may submit your comments on this proposed rule by one of three methods. You may mail or hand carry comments to the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, Administrative Record, Room 101, 1951 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20240, or you may send comments via electronic mail to osmregs@osmre.gov

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